Sometimes, I suspect that it is easier to be a martyr than to persist in daily God-fearing walk. It takes only a moment of (painful) execution to launch one into glorious life in heaven, but discipling the flesh require long-term endurance and self-denial.
I came home after morning service full of goodwill and determination to follow the Preacher's exhortation, only to discover that Next Door is having a mini children riot, complete with tinkling toys that make more noise than music. The halo of well-being evaporated instantly. Though I resisted the urge to chide them, I vaguely wondered if I could persuade them to lay carpets so that the children could throw smash their toys on the floor without creating such havoc on a Sunday afternoon. Have I also mentioned how much I envy but dread their state-of-the-art movie sound system?
When there are thousands of individuals living in high-rise apartments which are densely built, it is not surprising that neighbourly disputes become one of the major sources of social strain in our society.
Despite the comfort and security our homes provide or heavy investment in interior decorations, the unfortunate truth is that it only takes one inconsiderate family to significantly reduce the quality of life for others. Take for example, the noise issue that seems to plague everyone. Insubstantial yet pervasive, noise is impossible to block. It creeps through the tiniest cracks in window openings, and even penetrates walls. In a typical day, during normal waking hours, and even ungodly ones actually, I could hear the conversations of my neighbours reverberating through my home, even if I kept my doors and windows closed. I'm sure they could hear me when I sing as well.
And God says, "love your neighbours". In fact, of all the Ten Commandments in the Bible, Jesus told us that if we were only able to keep two, these are the two - love God, and love your neighbour. Why can't he choose something easier to follow, like, "do not murder" instead?
Yet, maybe it is best to see this as a form of the training to love those who are less than lovable, just as God loves us, despite knowing all our faults and sins. If there isn't a test, we would have no opportunity to choose the better option and thereby please Him. For the sake of his love, we can obey by loving, even if it does not come naturally. And when my neighbours indulge in inconsiderate behaviour, may God help me to count it as my glory to overlook an offense (Proverbs 19:11), and to live in peace with them.